Why mistakes matter

Posted by on July 15, 2013

A few months ago, I had a healthy dose of wisdom shared to me from a colleague I truly look up to: mistakes matter. The simple truth is that mistakes teach you a lot more than success does. We learn from mistakes while we bask in success. And we remember mistakes a lot longer than we remember our victories.

Embrace mistakes for what they are – your best learning tool.

Embrace mistakes for what they are – your best learning tool.

But since most marketers are perfectionists, the quest for immaculacy can slow down great work. In this industry, you have to fail fast before you can win big. You can’t beat around the bush for fear of failing, because by the time it takes you to do so, your competitors have already failed and learned from their mistakes to piece together the next money-making idea.

Plus, that’s been the way good marketers have treated emerging media since it has – well, emerged. Digital channels change every day, from social media to video to augmented reality. It’s up to us to experiment with them – try new things; identify what works by eliminating what doesn’t. We may not know that our idea is guaranteed to succeed, but if you don’t try it, it’s guaranteed to fail.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s not counsel to abandon strategy and dive head-first into the tumultuous waters of changing media with no purpose other than to fail. But it is counsel to embrace mistakes for what they are – your best learning tool. 


  1. Great advice! One thing I would add, would be even if you did test a strategy once and it failed; to not completely abandon the strategy as it may work again in the future after technology or the people using it shift.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jackie! I completely agree – timing can often be a make-or-break factor in the process. A great strategy now could have been a terrible one 6 months ago. It’s all about reevaluating, readjusting and reworking!

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